Osteomyelitis – Rabbit

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Osteomyelitis is frequently encountered in pet rabbits. It may occur spontaneously or secondary to trauma. Sites include subcutis, joints, long bones, skull bones, tooth roots, and retrobulbar tissues. Abscesses are often very large and antibiotic therapy, unless aggressive, is therefore unrewarding. They are best treated by adequate surgical excision and prolonged courses of parenteral antibiotics. Rabbit skin heals very rapidly. I always prepare the owner for the administration of very long courses of medication, usually oxytetracycline (Engemycin 5%; Intervet), SC q72hrs for three weeks longer than it takes for the abscess(es) to become clinically undetectable. In severe cases the animal has been kept on treatment with oxytetracycline parenterally for life will no ill-effects. Topical application of clindamycin by inserting one 25mg Antirobe® capsule Pfizer is recommended and practised by many clinicians in the treatment of cutaneous abscesses in pet rabbits. Clindamycin must not be allowed to enter the gastrointestinal canal. See the note on the treatment of submandibular abscesses here.